You have to take time off from working out. It’s not a question — it’s mandatory. For the past few years, I’ve had this idea in my head that if I just keep going and going, then eventually, something will click,k and all of my hard work will pay off. But as I enter into year three of training for a marathon and try to balance working full-time, I’ve realized that this simply isn’t sustainable. Our bodies need time to recover from exercise, and if we don’t give them that time, we risk injury, burnout, and even plateauing in our fitness goals.
So what exactly is a rest day? A rest day is any day where you don’t exercise. That’s it! No run, no bike ride, no HIIT class — just a day (or two, or three) of complete rest. And while it may seem counterintuitive to take a day off when you’re trying to get in shape, rest days are an essential part of any fitness routine.
1. Rest Days Help Your Muscles Recover
When you exercise at golds gym sharjah or any other gym, you’re causing tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This sounds bad, but it’s a good thing these tears are what help your muscles grow stronger. However, for your muscles to properly repair themselves, they need time to rest. If you don’t give them that time, then they won’t be able to recover properly, which can lead to injury.
2. Rest Days Help Reduce Your Risk of Burnout
If you’re constantly on the go, it’s essential to take a step back now and then. Exercise is supposed to be something that makes you feel good, not something that causes you stress. But if you’re overtraining, then it’s easy to start feeling burnt out. This can lead to a decrease in your performance, making you more likely to get injured.
3. Rest Days Can Help You Lose Weight
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might think that you need to exercise every day to see results. But this isn’t necessarily true. Taking a few days off each week can help you lose weight in the long run. When you exercise, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps your body break down fat, but it also causes your body to hold onto water weight. So if you’re exercising every day, your body is constantly in a state of stress, leading to weight gain. But if you take a few days off each week, your cortisol levels will drop, and you’ll start to see results.
4. Rest Days Can Boost Your Immune System
If you’re constantly on the go, your immune system is probably taking a hit. And when you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is exercise. But if you take a few days off each week, you can give your immune system a chance to recover.
5. Rest Days Can Improve Your Sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep, then you’re not going to be able to perform your best when you exercise. And if you’re constantly exercising, it’s easy to start skimping on sleep. But if you take a few days off each week, you can get more rest and improve your sleep quality.
So now that you know why rest days are essential, it’s time to start planning them into your routine. Here are a few tips:
1. Schedule Your Rest Days
If you want to make sure that you’re taking enough rest days, schedule them into your week. Like you would with any other appointment, put your rest days into your calendar and make sure that you stick to them. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re taking the appropriate days off.
2. Listen to Your Body
Your body knows what it needs, so if you’re feeling particularly tired or sore, take a rest day. It’s better to listen to your body and take a day off than to push yourself too hard and risk injury.
3. Get Active on Your Rest Days
Just because you’re taking a day off from exercise doesn’t mean that you have to be a couch potato. There are plenty of other things that you can do on your rest days, like going for a walk, stretching, or even taking a yoga class. Just make sure that you’re not doing anything too strenuous.
4. Make Sure You’re Eating Right
If you’re not eating enough calories, then your body will start breaking down muscles for energy. So make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet and getting enough protein, carbs, and fat. This will help your body recover and repair itself.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Water is essential for recovery, so make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for recovery, so make sure you’re getting enough rest. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
7. Take a Break from Technology
If you’re constantly plugged in, then it’s easy to get stressed out. So on your rest days, make a point to disconnect from technology and relax. Turn off your phone, disconnect from social media, and just take some time.
8. Do Something You Enjoy
On your rest days, do something that you enjoy. This can be anything from reading a book to taking a nature hike. Just make sure that you’re not doing anything that will put too much stress on your body.
Taking one or two rest days each week is essential for your health and well-being. So make sure that you’re scheduling them into your routine and listening to your body. And if you need some ideas for things to do on your rest days, check out the list above.
Have any questions about exercise or recovery? Leave a comment below, and I’ll be happy to answer them!